Paul, the apostle, commanded believers to "rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;" because "this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
As we Canadians celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, we need to realize that this isn't simply an event where we eat lots of food with family and friends. And that Thanksgiving isn't just a time to possibly stop to consider all of the things we are or should be thankful for, but that thanksgiving is a powerful practice that unleashes new life in us.
Paul gives us three rules of life, declaring that this is God's will for us. He says we are to "rejoice, pray, and give thanks at all times." He is essentially telling us that God's will is for us to practice these things, and in so doing, we will find life to the full, regardless of the season or circumstance.
In the realm of God's Kingdom, thanksgiving is more proactive than reactive. Thanksgiving is something you do more than something you feel. And, the promise is that when you do it, life, peace, joy, and all kind of good "God stuff" is the result.
Above all, thanksgiving is a joy generator. This is why we are commanded to give thanks in all circumstances, because it has the power to produce joy, gratitude and trust deep within us.
This Thanksgiving season, may you enjoy great food, the goodness of family and friends, and the fruit of the harvest season, and, as you do, may your acts and words of thanks be as abundant as the food. If you give thanks, rather than just be thankful, you will find not only your stomach full of food, but your soul full of joy.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone,
For more depth on the topic of thanksgiving, check out this podcast and or my essay on this powerful practice.